About the Ocean, Great Lakes and Coastal Program

What we do

Interior provides public access to our Nation’s seashores, refuges, parks and monuments in coastal and marine environments. Interior also preserves rich cultural and recreational opportunities for the public.

Interior ensures safe and responsible development of natural, mineral and energy resources.

Interior uses science-based approaches to increase our understanding of natural resources and inform their safe and responsible use, conservation and management. 

Interior collaborates, supports, and coordinates with other Federal agencies, Tribes, states and a wide array of partners and programs to promote health, reduce risk and support sustainable resources and resilient watersheds.

Interior supports adaptive management strategies to inform decisions, reduce risk and improve economic sustainability.

Interior participates in and supports regional coordination efforts across the Nation to strengthen and enhance regional initiatives for managing our resources and planning effectively.

Interior conducts diverse scientific and resource monitoring programs through extensive ocean, coastal and Great Lakes research coordinated with other Federal agencies and non-federal partners.

Interior experts provide data, tools and information to inform and support multiple levels of leaders and decision makers so they can manage upland watersheds, coastal and estuarine ecosystems, continental shelf and deep ocean environments and the natural and cultural resources that exist in them.

Interior Bureaus provide stewardship for ocean, Great Lakes, and coastal resources by:

  • Providing robust scientific programs that inform decisions and reduce risk,
  • Ensuring safe and responsible development of natural, mineral and energy resources,
  • Promoting healthy and productive ecosystems through informed management and monitoring,
  • Protecting native species and their habitats,
  • Preserving rich cultural and recreational opportunities for the public, and
  • Supporting Tribal, state, regional and local partnerships.

Interior Bureau Roles

All Bureau Logo graphic bar


The Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) works with a wide variety of partners to protect coastal resources, habitats and species including the California Coastal National Monument, a unique collection of the public lands consisting of a network of more than 20,000 small islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles that provide a haven for animals and plants along the California coast.

Read and subscribe to BLM's Frontiers newsletter.

BIA SealThe Bureau of Indian Affairs

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) supports a wide variety of ocean, coastal and Great Lakes activities and programs that help tribes and Alaska Natives manage coastal and cultural resources.


Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) manages the exploration and development of the nation's offshore energy and mineral resources. The Bureau seeks to balance economic development, energy independence, and environmental protection through responsible management of offshore conventional and renewable energy development based on the best available science.

Ocean Science News
Ocean Science newsletter
Science Notes newsletter

BSEE logo

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement The Bureau of Safety and Energy Enforcement (BSEE) is charged with improving safety and ensuring environmental protection related to the offshore energy industry, primarily oil and natural gas, on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. BSEE works to promote safety, protect the environment, and conserve resources on more than 2,000 offshore facilities through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement.

NPS SealThe National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS) manages ocean, Great Lakes and coastal resources across 22 states and four territories. Established for their beauty, culture and national significance, these parks conserve over 11,000 miles of coast and 2.5 million acres of ocean and Great Lakes waters, including coral reefs, kelp forests, glaciers, estuaries, beaches, wetlands, historic forts and shipwrecks. The ocean and coastal parks comprise a system of diverse biological, recreational and historic value to the nation. They attract over 88 million visits each year and provide educational opportunities to build public awareness of these resources. NPS has adopted strategies to increase the agency's organizational and scientific capacity to address ocean and coastal issues in partnership with state and federal agencies and local organizations. Together these partnerships are working to address multiple threats to natural and cultural resources from inside and outside of park boundaries that include: intense population growth and development, overfishing, climate change, pollution and watershed degradation, shoreline impacts from infrastructure and sea-level rise, invasive species and recreational overuse of park resources.


The Office of Insular Affairs

The Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) is working with the U.S.-affiliated insular areas to protect coral reefs. Through the Micronesia Challenge, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands committed to protect at least 30 percent of near-shore marine resources and 20 percent of terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020.

FWS SealU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) manages the National Wildlife Refuge System which includes 183 refuges that protect ocean, Great Lakes and Coastal environments. From above the Arctic Circle to south of the Equator, the Refuge System protects an incredible diversity of marine and coastal ecosystems within the U.S. and U.S. territories, including salt marshes, rocky shorelines, tide pools, sandy beaches, kelp forests, mangroves, seagrass meadows, barrier islands, estuaries, lagoons, tidal creeks, tropical coral atolls, as well as open ocean. Within the Refuge System, the Coastal Program is a voluntary habitat conservation program that uses science-based conservation design to address the conservation priorities of the Service and our partners, and to provide effective stewardship of the nation's coastal and estuarine natural resources.


U.S. Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides science about the natural hazards that threaten lives and livelihoods, the water, energy, minerals, and other natural resources we rely on, the health of our ecosystems and environment, and the impacts of climate and land-use change. Our scientists develop new methods and tools so that policy makers and the public have the understanding they need to enhance preparedness, response, and resilience. USGS scientists work closely with academic institutions, states, Tribes, and other Federal agencies to advance Earth science and technology. The Coastal/Marine Hazards and Resources Program scientists and staff study coastal and ocean resources and processes from shorelines and estuaries to the continental shelf and deep sea. This work supports Interior's varied responsibilities and enables timely, relevant, and useful information about the Earth and its processes for use by decision makers.

Read and subscribe to the Sound Waves newsletter.

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